To date, almost 20 state legislatures have considered bills in response to the tragic partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., last year. Following the collapse, CAI convened three specialized task forces to explore changes to laws and best practices for the community association housing model that could help prevent a similar tragedy and to provide solutions for legislators addressing building safety in their districts.

Public policy recommendations in the areas of reserve studies and funding, building maintenance, and structural integrity are detailed in CAI’s Condominium Safety Public Policy Report, released in late October. CAI’s legislative action committees have worked closely with state legislators over the past year to ensure that these recommendations are considered for adoption into state law to support the existing statutory framework for the development, governance, and management of community associations.

Last week, the Florida legislature unanimously passed SB 4D – Building Safety Act for condominium and cooperative associations, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 26. The legislation includes a framework largely based on CAI’s recommendations:

  • Building inspections as structures reach 30 years old and every 10 years thereafter.
  • Mandatory reserve study and funding for structural integrity components (building, floors, windows, plumbing, electrical, etc.).
  • Removal of opt-out funding of reserves for structural integrity components.
  • Mandatory transparency—providing all owners and residents access to building safety information.
  • Clear developer requirements for building inspections, structural integrity reserve study, and funding requirements prior to transition to the residents.
  • Engagement of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and local municipalities to track condominium buildings and the inspection reporting.

Associations will have two years to comply with these requirements. CAI is working closely with policymakers before the bill takes effect in 2024 to be certain the new requirements and directives are workable and practical for Florida’s impacted associations. Read more on this recently passed law.

Below is a summary of how other states addressed condominium safety concerns in 2022:

Reserve Studies and Funding. Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia have introduced legislation regulating reserve studies and funding.

  • Illinois passed legislation which clarifies that if an association obtains a reserve study that study is part of the association’s books and records, owners have a right to examine and copy that reserve study. The bill does not mandate that an association have a reserve study.
  • Maryland enacted legislation mandating reserve studies and funding beginning Oct. 1.
  • Virginia passed legislation creating a study program under the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to analyze the adequacy of existing law to address structural integrity and reserves in common interest communities.

Colorado and Connecticut legislation regulating reserves failed during their 2022 legislative sessions. Georgia, Hawaii, and Tennessee adjourned for 2022 without passing a reserve bill.

Building Maintenance and Structural Integrity. CAI supports additional requirements by developers in both areas during the development process and prior to transition to the homeowners. Structural integrity is addressed through statutorily mandated building inspections starting when the building is 10 years old, another inspection at 20 years, and every five years thereafter. Inspections are based on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ published protocol for building inspections.

Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia introduced legislation addressing building inspections and structural integrity in 2022. Virginia’s new legislation creates a study program that will analyze structural integrity and reserves. Hawaii’s legislation didn’t pass.

CAI’s Government and Public Affairs team and Legislative Action Committees promise to work diligently with state legislatures to ensure the best quality condominium safety public policy is passed in each state. If you have questions or comments, please contact CAI’s Government and Public Affairs team at government@caionline.org, and learn more about CAI’s advocacy priorities.

Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq.

Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq.

Director of Government and Public Affairs and the College of Community Association Lawyers

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